In April, Amar Shabazz was released from prison after time served for possession of child porn. By October, Shabazz's Maryland residence had been raided by authorities, and the 23-year-old is now facing new charges, this time for allegedly selling hundreds of fake vaccine cards, reports the New York Post. Per a criminal complaint cited by the US Attorney's Office in the District of Maryland, the Owings Mills man purchased more than 600 phony COVID vaccine cards from a "foreign online marketplace" starting in June, then promoted them on his social media and mailed them out via UPS.
"Covid19 vaccination card who want one. $75 a pop," was the caption for one of his promotions online in July, per the complaint. Then, in early August, underneath an article about venues requiring proof that guests had been vaccinated, Shabazz allegedly commented, "I SELL PROOF OF VACCINATION CARDS." He later noted online he'd run out of cards and is said to have sent a message to someone saying, "Made 300 today. I'm sold out. Just bought 500 more cards. 60x500 is $30k. I'm gonna be rich," per the complaint.
The alleged scheme unraveled from there. On Aug. 19, Customs and Border Protection officers seized a package addressed to "MAR SHA" and sent to Shabazz's home that included the man's phone number, as well as recovered fake cards from individuals that had apparently received the cards from Shabazz, per the complaint. It notes that Shabazz accepted another delivery of fake cards on Aug. 31, this time addressed to "ACE BOOGIE." A basement used by Shabazz was raided by law enforcement on Oct. 1, and the day after that, Shabazz allegedly searched online on how to scrub his ties to the foreign marketplace that sold the cards.
"While Marylanders were struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shabazz took advantage of the crisis and sold fake vaccination cards, threatening the health and safety our communities," US Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron says in a statement, per the Washington Post. Shabazz was hit with federal charges of mail fraud and obstruction of justice and faces up to 20 years behind bars on each charge if convicted. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)